I was utterly delighted when I received a sample of these in the mail from Just Born. I first remember seeing them in my friend’s Flickr photos, then Cybele gave them a wonderful review. I had reviewed an assortment of spice beans by Just Born for CandyAddict at about the same time, and I realized that they were probably the same set of jelly beans, just different packaging. Still, the candy brat in me wanted to have the ones with the Hot Tamale branding because they seemed so much cooler in my mind.
The beans are a nice size. Not as small as Jelly Belly’s beans, but no where near as large and many of the pectin varieties you see out there. I’d say well, they’re the size of a baked beans or a peanut. The panned shell is glossy and smooth with an even color. The texture is nice and chewy and doesn’t ever get sticky.
Peppermint (white): Very intense and fresh. It’s just lick sucking on a candy cane. It’s powerful flavor is refreshing and sweet.
Spearmint (green): More sweet and herbal than the peppermint. It’s grassier and not as intense. It’s a good balance of flavor too, it’s not powerful like a stick of gum.
Cinnamon (red): Very punchy and spicy, true to normal Hot Tamales. It has that signature kick to it, along with a warmth from the spicy burn. Thankfully these at not as fiery a Red Hots, otherwise I wouldn’t have enjoyed them as much.
Clove (yellow): Oh, how I love clove flavored beans! These come across as very earthy and spicy. They have great woodsy accents that really capture the taste of cloves.
Wintergreen (pink): My favorite of the bunch. It’s very bright, sweet and pleasantly herbal in flavor. It has nice spicy notes that remind me of a nice mug of root beer.
These are great, and a nice change from the Brach’s beans I love so much. I wish I could find them year ‘round, heck, even find them in stores near me. Maybe I can plead Just Born to supple me with more of them.
Links Hot Tamale Website
I ventured into Wal-Mart the other week after a frustrating swag-less run to Target in search for Easter candy. An act of desperation, I assure you. I needed Easter candy and didn’t know where to look next, as Target usually has the best selection in my area. I was floored to discover a beautifully stocked Easter candy aisle, separated by color: pink, green, orange, blue, purple. Candy of all kinds were there, M&Ms, Peeps, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Russell Stover Chocolate Rabbits, Edible Grass, etc. The list goes on. Amongst this rainbow of every candy lover’s dream, I found these Gimball’s Easter Jelly Beans. I look at the flavors assortments for each flavor, and I found the yellow package to have the most appealing flavors for me.
Gimbal’s makes gourmet jelly beans year round, but I was pleased to find special varieties for Easter. The one thing I find appealing about Gimbals as opposed to most other jelly beans on the market, is the price. It’s remarkably cheaper than say, the likes of Jelly Belly. Exactly how much, I can’t say at the moment since I don’t have my receipt on me to make the comparison. Plus, I’m an artist, I don’t work well with numbers. That’s my excuse.
The bag lists the flavors on the back, showing four beans in a recipe for “Lemon Crumble” using all three flavors in the bag. Opening the bag I get this odd aroma of buttery fruit. Very….interesting.
The beans are beautiful to look at. They are the same size and approximate shape as Jelly Belly’s Jelly Beans.
Lemon Meringue: Fresh and tart flavor of lemons. The taste isn’t too powerful, too sweet or too tart. All the elements strike a nice balance. Towards the end an extra kick of sweetness shows up which I think is the “meringue” part of this bean.
Pineapple: Immediately juicy and tropical. It has an slight odd metallic taste to it, like pineapple juice from a tin can.
Buttered Popcorn: Very buttery and artificially so. Like “I Cannot Believe It’s Not Butter”, but in a jelly bean. It’s sweet, but has a strong salty edge to it.
A really nice replacement for Jelly Belly, especially if you don’t want to spend as much money on some jelly beans. They look practically identical, missing the logo on them of course, and have a strong satisfying flavor. I’m very tempted to go and try the other colored varieties now.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Gimbal’s Website
Ahh, I love this time of year. It means for me that the candy aisles in all the stores are filled with all different types of jelly beans. I love jelly beans (in fact, the NY Times asked me about them last year. Shameless plug, I know). I’m always interested in trying all the different kinds, and yes, I even have a soft spot for the spice flavored ones. Let’s just say I don’t discriminate.
One of the new varieties I noticed in the past two years is the Hawaiian Punch jelly beans made by Brach’s. I love how Brach’s makes their jelly beans, the texture and flavors are always really appealing to me. I don’t know quite how to classify them, as many Easter jelly beans are Pectin, and others….well, on the other side there’s Jelly Belly. There doesn’t seem to be any in between, but there is in my book. I don’t know quite how to explain it though. Pectin beans have always been about texture for me, that’s why you bought them. Jelly Belly you bought because the flavors were so intense. Now there seems to be a good selection of beans out there that have both going on. It all depends on what you like, really.
Anyways, Brach’s flavors and textures don’t disappoint. So I was eager to see how the Hawaiian Punch flavors translated into this traditional Easter treat.
Fruit Juicy Red (red): Tastes very mild, lightly fruity and sweet. The best way to describe it is “red” without the standard medicinal flavor to it.
Green Berry Rush (green with yellow flecks): This is the most “tropical punchy” flavor of the bunch. It has a strong fruity/berry flavor, yet still tastes like standard fruit punch.
Berry Blue Typhoon (blue): Tastes like very fruity and of sweet raspberry, yet not “blue” at all as it lacks the artificiality. It’s just very floral and juicy.
Lemon Berry squeeze (pink with yellow spots): This tastes like a raspberry lemonade with a little cherry thrown in; tart with a hint of something metallic.
Mango Passion fruit Squeeze (yellow with orange spots): This one is so tropical and exotic with a big hit of mango, peach and strong floral notes.
Orange Ocean (orange with yellow flecks): Very bright and orange tasting, similar to a orange Tootsie pop with a tad of pineapple tossed in.
I liked how these definitely tastes different and unique from the many different varieties of Jelly Beans I’ve had to date. I also like how the beans are based on a drink, as opposed to pre-existing candy, so it feels more original and less like a spin off. Worth picking up if you’re craving something new.
Rating: Might Eat Again
I want to be perfectly honest here. I love, love spice beans. I realize that they’re the jelly beans we’ve all encountered as kids, probably visiting the Grandparents over the Easter holiday. We’d see a candy dish on the table full of jelly beans and eagerly grab a handful. As we shoved the colorful, sugary orbs into our mouths, we realized they were full of odd flavors: cinnamon, peppermint, and heaven forbid, clove. Flavors that are not suited to our sugar-oriented taste buds, and they’re promptly get spit into the garbage when the adults weren’t looking.
So yes, I am strange in this love of mine. In my defense, I didn’t eat them as a kid. I wasn’t ever exposed to them to be honest. It wasn’t until college where I noticed them in the candy aisles and decided to try them to see what the fuss was about. The rest is history, as so they stay.
Brach’s has always been one of my favorite varieties. I liked the flavors and textures, especially more than the other cheaper pectin spice beans I’d enounter. I was tempted by them a few times from the cheaper price tag, but I soon realized that you got what you paid for.
So why do I feel Brach’s are so superior? Firstly, these beans are large, like three to four times the size of Jelly Belly Beans, and maybe two to three of the Starburst and Just Born’s beans. They just have an satisfying size, even if you’re just looking at them.
Ginger (orange): I hard a hard time placing this flavor at first. Which I found frustrating for a bit. It didn’t taste gingery at first, but then halfway though that gingery burn shows up a little bit. I’d say it’s the spiciest of the bunch, but it’s still pretty mild, all things considered. This was the flavor I was looking forward to least, but I did liked it after all.
Clove (purple): It’s woodsy, sweet and not as strong as I was expecting. I enjoyed the nutty and herbal chew. Am I the only one?
Licorice (black): Oh yay! I love licorice jelly beans. This reminds me of the licorice flavor in Good & Plenty; good strong flavor with molasses’ sweetness to it. No hints of anise here. I really thought this was a stellar flavored licorice bean. Yum, my second favorite of the bunch.
Spearmint (green):A nicely fresh, bright flavor that reminds me of toothpaste. Has a little grassy note to it.
Cinnamon (red): Was there any doubt? This one is wonderful warm and grainy, I felt like I was chewing some Big Red gum, minus the extremely intense burn.
Peppermint (white): I was nervous about this one at first, as I’m not big on peppermint. Thankfully, it’s a very light and delicate flavor. I liked this too since it didn’t overpower my taste buds which I find peppermint usually does.
Wintergreen (pink): Lovely grainy, clean, fresh, a little sweet and peppery. Can’t you tell I just love wintergreen? The flavor is strong, and has good spicy notes similar to root beer.
I always buy a few bags to keep me going for a few months past Easter, and this year is no exception. If you haven’t tried spice beans before, I really suggest giving them a try. You may just find you love them as much as I do.
Links Brach’s Website
I heard about these mysterious Milka “Scoop Easter Eggs” in places all over the internet. Usually I’d hear them mentioned, and praised, in areas where Cadbury Cream Eggs were being discussed. The idea of a cream filled chocolate eggs was extremely tempting, so I started to extensively search to find these nameless scoop eggs that fondly existed in people’s childhood Easter memories. My hard work eventually paid off as I located these Ei Eggs made by Milka (I know Ei is “egg” in Dutch) and I knew immediately that I had found what all the fuss was about. I put an order in and waited patiently for my treat to arrive on my doorstep.
First of all, I was impressed by the packaging. They really went all out. The eggs come in a pack of four, in a beautiful bright purple egg carton. How cool! You flip the top open to find the eggs and a set of two plastic spoons to eat them with. Are they suggesting that at share? I hope not!
This one’s interactivity I found really interesting. It looks like a large Cadbury Cream Egg (CCE from now on) that you “crack” open and eat the white looking insides with a spoon. So cute! Once unwrapped from the foil, the egg’s surface is smooth, except for 1/4 way up the top where there’s a zig zag crack pattern showing were you are supposed to open the egg. The packages’ picture directions who you whacking it open with the dinky plastic spoon that is included, but I decided lightly squeezing the egg to get it to cleave was a better method.
Eating the broken off top shell gave me a chance to taste the chocolate: it’s sweet, has a really nice milkiness to it that has a slight tang to it. I’d say Cadbury chocolate is milkier and I do get notes of the chocolate and some caramel in there too. I was impressed with the chocolate’s taste, since I really was expecting it just to be creamy and sweet tasting like most mass produced milk chocolates are.
Now, for those white cream insides. Taking my first scoop, I realized the insides were more light and fluffy as opposed to the CCE’s dense and gooey center. This is more whipped and airy. The flavor is that of white chocolate: it’s creamy, a little chocolatey, very sweet and I even get notes of malt and vanilla. Overall, a stellar white chocolate flavor. It has that very slick mouth feel from all the cocoa butter and vegetable oils. This was cute to eat too as it was oddly satisfying to eat with the little spoon. That also slowed down my eating process so it took me a bit to finish and I could go slowly and really enjoy it.
I love these, since the interactivity of eating it is not only fun, but unique was well. Not to mention they’re really delicious! The only thing I would warn against is you may find this overly sweet if you are sensitive to that sort of thing and if CCE’s are not too your liking for the same reason. If you see them, I highly recommend you picking some up.
Links Milka Website